Saint of the Day – 16 July – St Reinildis of Saintes ( c 630 – c 700) Virgin, Laywoman, Martyr, Pilgrim. Born in c 630 in Kontich, Belgium and died by being beheaded in c 700 outside a Chapel in Saintes (in modern Halle), Belgium. by the invading Huns. Also known as – Reinildis of Condacum, Reinildis of Kontich, Rainelde, Raineldis, Reinaldes, Reineldis, Reinhild. Patronage – against eye diseases, the Town of Saintes.
The Roman Martyrology states: “At Saintes, in France, this holy Martyrs Reinildis, Virgin and her companions. who were massacred by bbarbarians for the Christian Faith.”
Reinildis was the daughter of St Amalberga (10 July – here: https://anastpaul.com/2017/07/10/saint-of-the-day-10-july-st-amalberge-of-mauberg/) but her birthplace is under discussion, since it is not known whether it is Kontich, just outside Antwerp, or Condésur-Escaut in present-day northern France. although the former seems more likely. Tradition holds that when her parents and sister, St Gudula (8 January), embraced the religious life, Reinildis followed her father to the Abbey of Lobbes, hoping to be able to enter it, giving the Abbey most of her riches and possessions . However, she did not enter for unknown reasons and instead left on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, where she stayed for seven years (some sources claim only two) and returned with many relics.
On her return she lived in Saintes, near Hal, southwest of Brussels, devoting all her time to assisting the poor and the sick. of the area. She was killed in Saintes during a barbarian raid. With her at the time of her Martyrdom was the servant Gandolfo and a sub-Deacon called Grimoaldo, all three venerated as Martyrs.
A cult began immediately after her death and in 866, the Bishop, St John of Cambrai, exhumed the relics and buried them again in a solemn ceremony. The first Life of St Reinildis dates from this period.
A document from the twelfth century describes the transfer of her relics to Lobbes Abbey probably in 1170 and their authentication by the local Bishop. It seems that this document was a homily written by a Monk of Lobbes on the day of the anniversary of the translation, and it is more hagiographic than historical but, at least it is a reliable testimony, that the cult of Reinildis was widespread in the Saintes area and in the Abbey of Lobbes.
Saint Reinildis’ Patronage against eye diseases is due to the association with a well in Saintes known as “Sainte Renelde’s Well,” the water of which is believed to cure eye diseases.
Saint Reinildis is greatly venerated in Saintes as the Patron Saint of the Town. Some sources even indicate that Saintes owes its name to Reinildis” Martyrdom
The Parish Church of Saintes is, since the Middle Ages, dedicated to Sainte Reinildis and has preserved some of her relics.